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Matthew’s healthcare journey breaks barriers

Thanks to Fee-Free TAFE, Matthew Barnes is on track to become an Assistant in Nursing, inspired by his family's legacy in the healthcare industry.

"I’ve wanted to work in healthcare since I was young," shares Matthew.

"My mum is a midwife, and my dad was an Enrolled Nurse while I was growing up. It's in my blood.”

“Their dedication to caring for others has always inspired me. I knew that interpersonal, hands-on work would be a good fit for me."

Now, Matthew Barnes is turning his dream of working in healthcare into reality through the Certificate III in Health Services Assistance (HLT33115) course.

According to a 2021 report released by Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in 2020, 166,000 men were registered for employment healthcare in Australia in 2020, compared to 476,500 women.

Despite this, Matthew remains steadfast in his commitment to encouraging more men to consider working in the field.

"We've been learning how culture can shape patient preference," Matthew explains. "For instance, some patients may feel more comfortable being cared for by someone of the same gender."

"Australia is so diverse, and it's important to understand how a patient’s cultural background can affect their choices and needs," Matthew adds.

"Having more balanced representation in the healthcare workforce can improve many patients' experiences."

Matthew is gaining key skills and experience for his future in real-world healthcare settings with hands-on training and access to state-of-the-art facilities and equipment at TAFE Queensland's Townsville (Pimlico) campus.

"The simulated clinical wards have been very helpful and boosted my confidence," Matthew explains.

"In healthcare, it's a real whirlwind - things move at a fast pace. In the simulated clinical wards, there's a lot less pressure to get things perfect right away. Plus, it's lots of fun.”

“They look just like an actual hospital ward, which definitely adds to the experience."

With a clinical placement on the horizon, Matthew is looking forward to building on his practical skills.

"I'm pretty confident and excited to showcase the skills I have built, but I know that a lot of my learning about the field will be done on-site," he explains.

Matthew also uses Fee-Free TAFE funding to kick start his career, which is part of the Queensland Government's Good People. Good jobs: Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022–2032.

It aims to connect, educate, and attract people to meet Queensland’s workforce demand in existing and new industry sectors to support continued economic growth.

"Fee-Free TAFE has made it so much easier for me to study," Matthew shares. "Without it, I would have to balance my studies with a job, which would be difficult."

Matthew's career goals go beyond his current studies. "I want to continue my education and become an Enrolled Nurse," he shares.

"I see myself starting in Aged Care," he says. "Then, I hope to get enough experience and pave my way into hospital settings.”

Melanie Clarke, Community and Health Faculty Manager for TAFE Queensland North region, said that Matthew's dedication to his studies and his passion for encouraging male involvement in healthcare are truly inspiring.

"His journey highlights the importance of providing accessible education opportunities, like Fee-Free TAFE, to empower people to pursue careers in healthcare.”

The demand for healthcare workers is high, with Jobs Queensland data predicting over 40,000 new job openings in Queensland by 2026.